The Family Guy Goes Online
Mr. Seth MacFarlane has become a multimedia mogul as he is cooperating with Google to bring a bunch of his short cartoons to a variety of sites. The creator of Family Guy hopes to revoluntionize the way entertainment is distrubuted on the Web.
A rapid ascent in television has set Mr. MacFarlane up for what will be a closely watched push onto the Web. On Wednesday, dozens of his short cartoons will start rolling out through Google to a variety of sites, making Mr. MacFarlane the first major producer to get a ride on the Web giant's network. "It's a big experiment," he says.
The project could change the way entertainment is distributed on the Web. It also underscores Mr. MacFarlane's broader rise as a producer, writer, actor and artist with sway over coveted viewers. Among young men, only NFL football and "American Idol" outperformed "Family Guy" in the TV ratings last season, according to Nielsen Media Research. On DVD, the series has generated more than $386 million in total sales, putting it just behind such top sellers as "Seinfeld," according to Adams Media Research.
In May, Mr. MacFarlane signed the largest TV contract in recent history, a renewed deal with his studio, 20th Century Fox Television, that will earn him more than $100 million by its expiration in 2012.
What to expect:
In the Google series, "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," fans of his TV shows will see some familiar themes, including celebrity takedowns and surreal scenarios. In one "Cavalcade" sketch the actor Matthew McConaughey (voiced by another actor, Seth Green) is adrift in a life raft, nattering on about his easy success and "metal-like abdominal muscles" as a fellow castaway devours him limb by limb.
Fifty "Cavalcade" clips will run, a new one each week, on such sites as Sethcomedy.com and YouTube. In addition, using data submitted by the sites in its pervasive advertising network, Google will deliver "Cavalcade" clips to pages visited primarily by 18- to 34-year-old men.